Housing

Louis Theroux leads calls to help 131,000 children waking up homeless on Christmas Day

The broadcaster has backed Shelter’s plea to lift children out of homelessness as a 119 families are being made homeless every day this Christmas

Louis Theroux on homelessness

Louis Theroux has backed Shelter's plea to help kids waking up homeless at Christmas. Image: Shelter

Louis Theroux has backed Shelter’s call for children to be lifted out of homelessness as a record 131,000 kids face waking up on Christmas Day without a stable home.

The broadcaster joined the homelessness charity outside London’s King’s Cross Station on Tuesday (28 November) as they set up a ‘Dear Santa’ installation featuring a red post-box stuffed with children’s letters to Santa.

A giant letter from a child experiencing homelessness sat alongside the post-box to draw attention to how children are being impacted by the housing emergency.

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Shelter said one in 90 children will wake up homeless with their families in cramped B&Bs, badly converted offices and cold shipping containers on Christmas Day.

New analysis from the charity has found 119 families are being made homeless every single day.

Theroux said: “Every child needs a safe home where they can experience the magic of Christmas.

“Far too many children are spending this winter facing the harsh realities of homelessness in England. Your support can help provide support for families to find and keep a home this winter.” 

homelessness
The ‘Dear Santa’ installation outside London’s King’s Cross station featured a red post box stuffed with children’s letters to Santa alongside a giant letter laying out the plight homeless children are facing this Christmas. Image: Shelter

Thousands of families face being homeless at Christmas, according to Shelter, who echoed The Salvation Army’s warning that councils are struggling to cope with the demand on homelessness services.

The cost of living crisis and efforts to clear the asylum claim backlog are just two of the pressures that are seeing more people asking local authorities for support to avoid homelessness.

There are a record 104,000 households living in temporary accommodation in England and the annual £1.74bn bill is leaving some councils warning the issue will plunge them into financial difficulties.

Polly Neate, chief executive, Shelter said: “A truly dire lack of affordable homes means the housing emergency is spiralling. Over a hundred families are facing homelessness every day. These huge numbers are simply impossible to ignore, the holiday season is going to be far from festive for thousands of families this year.

“Our ‘Dear Santa’ installation brings to life just how urgent the housing emergency really is, showing how many children will spend this winter without anywhere to call home. Instead, they will be waking up homeless on Christmas morning in grim office conversions, cramped hostel rooms, and dingy B&Bs.”

As well as the backing of Theroux, BBC Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton, actress Mandip Gill and barrister and TV presenter Rob Rinder also backed Shelter’s campaign.

Gill said: “Collectively, we must do more to bring attention to those families and children who are suffering the realities of homelessness this winter.”

For more information on Shelter’s Winter Appeal, head here.

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